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ESL Lesson: Phrasal verb go

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Phrasal verb go or "Going on"

Here is a story with another phrasal verb — "go". Read the story and try to understand the different meanings of the phrasal verbs and then to help you I have given an explanation of the verbs at the end but don't look at the end first. Read the story and find the expressions with go in Italics.
And now — "Go On"!

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Going On

Ever since I can remember I have spent the evening in draughty halls, church halls, community centres, town halls or huts converted for the evening into halls and sat on hard wooden seats watching other people trying to make me believe that they are different people. If you don't know what I'm going on about, I should explain that I have seen a lot plays acted by amateur dramatic companies. Comments like that of course don't go down very well with the amateur actors themselves who sometimes go around with a long face if they read a bad criticism in the local paper of their acting and can't stop smiling if the critic goes on about how wonderful they are. It is after all only a hobby. But amateur acting unlike fishing, collecting stamps or bird watching is not a solitary activity. You can't just go through an entire play on your own in an empty hall — you need an audience. Acting and audiences go together like bread and butter.

The thing about amateurs is that very often they don't get it right and when the lights go out, you wonder what's going to happen. The results can be unintentionally amusing for the audience and occasionally it's just as well that the lights have gone out, because you can quietly conceal your mirth in the darkness. Now, I don't want to give the impression that I go about looking for trouble but there have been some very amusing moments in my theatre-going, which unfortunately have taken place at very serious moments in the play. I went out the other night to see a performance of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet. Everything was going along fine up to the famous balcony scene. I should point out that Romeo in this version was a good deal older than the part demanded and was fairly big and the same was true of Juliet, whose size came in useful as it turned out so you could say they went well together. But I'd better go back to the plot. The action calls for Romeo to climb up a ladder onto Juliet's balcony. Now our hero was clearly not the athletic type and didn't relish the idea of scaling that ladder but in the end he decided to go for it. Unluckily for him the rope ladder couldn't take his weight. Quick as a flash Juliet grabbed the other end and stopped him falling to the ground. As Romeo went ahead with his passionate love speech, Juliet went through her part as well as she could, pausing now and again for breath to stop her crashing to the floor.

Then there was the time I went to see a melodrama. A man was standing in front of a firing squad and the executioners were on the point of firing when we heard what sounded like three gunshots.
The problem was that the officer hadn't yet given the order to fire. The victim didn't know whether to die or wait a bit. A long silence followed and the poor man decided to "die" gracefully. Apparently the sound effects person had let off the explosives by mistake and there weren't enough to go round for a second attempt. My heart went out to the person playing the condemned man but shortly afterwards the curtain went down and so concealed his embarrassment.

Perhaps the saddest example of a theatrical disaster that I sat through was the occasion when an actor hadn't gone over his lines thoroughly enough before the performance started. I won't go into too much detail about the play. Suffice it to say that it was a very serious drama concerning a man who was convinced that everyone was against him. He was complaining about prices going up, which he claimed was the reason for his business going under. As an actor he had nothing going for him. He looked wrong, his voice was unpleasant and worst of all he kept forgetting his lines. The audience was getting restless and several people had already left. The final straw was a big soliloquy towards the end of the play. He was in the middle of the stage and forgetting his lines. Each time he forgot he dashed to the left then remembered that the prompt was on the right and ran to the other side. What was supposed to be high tragedy developed into high farce. The main point of the speech was that he would give up all his possessions, go without everything and do without everyone. He certainly got his wish. At the end of the play he only had me and two others to give the final round of applause.

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Next:ESL Lesson: Phrasal verb go (2)

Author: Alan Townend




English Grammar through Stories (PDF)
English Grammar through Stories could be your saviour — it shows you a completely new way of learning. Forget about old-fashioned text books with difficult explanations and boring sample sentences. You can improve your grammar very fast if you know how. The answer is a few clicks away: Read these unique short stories by Alan Townend and absorb the patterns of English grammar automatically. You can only learn if you enjoy what you are doing. You will love the funny characters in English Grammar through Stories because they show the strengths and weaknesses of human nature. On top of all that, each story concentrates on one particular grammar item so all you have to do is read the book and have fun. You will be amazed at how easily you can improve your grammar.

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